EU-South Pacific: trade-developments nexus in Economic Partnership Agreements

Serrano, Katharina Anna (2009) EU-South Pacific: trade-developments nexus in Economic Partnership Agreements. Doctoral thesis, University of Central Lancashire.

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The purpose of this study was to examine the nature of the trade-development nexus in economic relations between the European Union and Pacific island states. Two interrelated but competing International Relations theories are utilised as tools for analysis: the dependency theory and realist theory.
The research consists of analysis of the approaches, assumptions and applicability of both theories in the wider context of North-South relations, with a focus on recent changes in the relationship between the European Union and Pacific island states.
The thesis revealed that the lack of success in reaching policy objectives throughout a long-lasting relationship was a key driving force for several policy shifts; these resulted in the implementation of the trade-development nexus into new foreign
policy instruments, the Economic Partnership Agreements. Research demonstrated that new dependency theory forecasts more emphasis on the internal development dimension and a development-friendly trade-development nexus. Realist theory
however estimates that, depending on power projections and self-interests involved, the trade-development nexus may lead to either more co-operation or more conflict in relations between the European Union and Pacific island states.
In order to test the theoretical propositions, the thesis turned to the analysis of two case studies. It looked at the sugar sector in Fiji and the fisheries sector in the South Pacific. Both case studies demonstrated how the trade-development nexus selfadjusts to a given situation or changes through a set of conditions present at any given point in time— a phenomenon that is a defining feature, and possibly the actual essence of the nexus. This flexibility may positively contribute to the European Union's aspirations of becoming an influential global actor through trade and development policies. However, flexibility renders the trade-development nexus unpredictable as policy instrument and therefore less desirable from the perspective of Pacific island countries than it would appear in light of the case-studies.

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